Having playful pets is such a joyful thing and being at home with your pets during lockdown can be very comforting, especially if you live alone or are missing your family and friends. However, working from home, taking care of and educating kids etc., whilst not being able to get outdoors as much as usual, can make pet ownership challenging at the moment.
Here are some of our ideas you can do this national pet day, or as a little break away from your computer screen whilst you are working from home during this time.
Luckily, most dogs and cats tend to sleep a lot during the day, but when they are awake they will doubtless want your attention – especially if they are not used to you being around as much as you are right now.
If space is limited you might not be able to do much rough and tumble play with your pets and this could lead to unwanted behaviour especially in young animals. Keeping them mentally stimulated can be exhausting for you, but it may save time in tidying up or repairing damage caused by those stir-crazy pets getting into mischief!
Make a toy for your pet with your little ones
If you have children in your household you could try combining a craft session with making fun, creative toys for them to play with your pets. Small children and pets can make great companions, but it’s also important to give each their own space wherever possible to ensure that they don’t irritate each other. Interactions between pets and smaller children should always be properly supervised to prevent accidents.
Have your daily walk and take your pet with you!
If your dog is physically very active, it’s important to try to make the most of your daily exercise time to really let them let off steam and use up lots of that pent-up energy. Social distancing can make it difficult to find space to get away from other dog walkers who are trying to do likewise. Planning your dog walks in the early morning, or even at meal-times, can reduce the number of other walkers you may meet. Night walking can be good for social distancing but not so great if you can’t see where your dog has run off to. If this is a concern you may want to get a light-up dog collar or stick to daylight walks.
Introduce new good habits for you and your furry friend
There are quite a few free, and low-cost, pet training courses available right now and this could be the perfect time to explore some of these and keep both your pet and yourself focused on something really positive. It’s great for bonding as well as mental stimulation and behaviour and, Who knows, you could have the world’s most obedient pup or talented kitty when this is all over!
If you are struggling to cope with your pets during this time don’t despair. There are many people and organisations out there who can help you deal with behavioural or health issues and even financial worries. There are plenty of support groups online if you need to ask for advice, want to share your own experience or just vent!
Research new local businesses to use for pet supplies
If you’re worrying about how to get hold of your pet’s essentials, such as food, bedding or litter, most pet stores are still operating delivery and “click and collect” services even if their shops are closed. Local independent pet stores, and even vet clinics, are often a good way to get the supplies you need without having to wait too long for a delivery and they would probably really appreciate neighbourhood support right now.
Support a local animal charity this national pet day
If you don’t have pets, you may be thinking that now would be an ideal time to introduce a new furry friend to your household, but experts generally advise against it. Apart from the risks of close contact with people at the pet’s original home, pets are a long-term and serious commitment and it is important never to take a step like adopting a pet without thinking long and hard about it.
Animal rescue centres are under massive pressure right now with dwindling resources and more and more animals coming to them. If your aim is to support their work during this time you might wish to consider donating to a local animal charity and wait until things are back to normal before introducing a pet to your household. You can find a directory of pet and animal charities on our website.